I’ve been married for six years and I’ve learned things about myself I wouldn’t have learned in any other context. There have been times I’ve wanted to walk away and times I’ve wanted to spend every second of the day with my wife. There have been times I couldn’t keep my eyes off her and times I didn’t want to see her. I’ve experienced an array of emotions, but seldom felt empowered to authentically express them. Although I’ve grown in many areas, I realize how silenced I became and why so many men feel the same. Sometimes we refuse to share because we fear hurting our spouse, being ostracized, being unheard or belittled, but we have feelings and they are significant. They are confessions we confine in tightly guarded places that need to breathe. Here are some of mine.
I frequently struggle with isolation
I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember and although I was aware of this prior to marriage, somewhere deeply embedded was a belief that marriage would make this go away. It wasn’t until years into marriage I experienced recurring episodes of loneliness and wrestled with the inadequacy of trying to fill that void through my wife. I deal with this much better, yet I still experience pockets of profound isolation and have come to realization my wife cannot, and will never fully satisfy that need. She is ill-equipped because it’s part of my personality and a spiritual void. I now manage my expectations by interrupting falsehoods with spiritual truths, became more expressive when these feelings arise, and accepted the reality that this part of who I am.
I relentlessly wrestle with feelings of inadequacy
I frequently battle with thoughts of whether or not I am good enough, smart enough, and whether or not I am leading my family in a God-honoring way. I am a logical person, so I tend to judge the circumstance based on results, not intention, and internalize blame when things aren’t what I think they should be. I always assess my family’s success with an uneven ruler that often leaves me with the short end of the stick and most of the criticism. 99 percent of these criticisms are internal and I have to fight them with biblical truths daily.
I lust for other women
I love my wife, I am deeply committed to her, I have never been unfaithful, but there are times I want to have sex with other women. No attachment, life-term commitment, or genuine relationship, just sex. The truth is marriage doesn’t diminish your lust for other women. As men, we are attracted to what we see and no matter how incredibly beautiful, intelligent, and freaky our wife may be, there will always be someone prettier, more fit, funnier, more gifted and seemingly willing to do what our wives won’t. Always. I know men who won’t make a marital commitment because they feel it’ll close the door on all the other women, and I know some men who believe making the commitment will curtail their sexual attraction to all the women. Neither is true. I’ve met many men who have engaged in extramarital affairs, infidelity, and or heavy pornography use because they failed to realize this.
I now understand the psychology of a sexually repressed man and how he can rationalize the validity of self-satisfaction and or infidelity. Because so many men have the false notion that sex is an inalienable right, they acquiesce to the antiquated notion that if it’s not available at home they have a right to get it elsewhere. This is an inherently flawed construct because it sits on the pillar of self-happiness and fulfillment. However, this doesn’t license to women to wage sex as an incentive for good behavior. This can cause its own array of dysfunction, resentment, and conflict. Although sex is a critical part of holy matrimony, it doesn’t supersede the other tenants like unity, selfless love, and mutual submission.
“They acquiesce to the antiquated notion that if it’s not available at home they have a right to get it elsewhere.”
Sometimes I don’t want to come home
As previously mentioned, I’m been a loner for as long as I can remember and there are some days I don’t want to come home. I love being at home, but when I know I will be greeted by a crying child, an empty plate, dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and only 30-45 minutes to connect with my wife I’d rather stay out. I’d rather avoid all of these for limited personal peace. I’m not saying it’s healthy, I’m just saying it happens.
I love my family, but sometimes don’t miss them when I’m away
When I travel I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would. Since I’m an introvert, I really enjoy not having a curfew, not looking after a child, not sleeping with someone else in the bed, and not coordinating schedules for simple things like church. I enjoy being able to come and go as I please without considering another human being. If I know my family is safe and secure, I can live freely when I’m gone.
Sometimes I hate being married
Marriage is a phenomenal teacher of character, but the lessons don’t come easy. They are mostly through difficult circumstances, disagreements, and the normal challenges of trying to build biblical unity with someone. Ephesians 5:25 instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and quite honestly, the practicality of this really sucks. Really, really sucks. This means you have to fight against your own inhibitions, biases, unforgiveness, idiosyncrasies, and problems you didn’t know you had while administering love of divine proportions to someone who may be the very agent of your agitation. How Sway! Let me make it plain as some old church traditions say. This means even of you aren’t happy or getting your emotional and sexual needs met you still have to love selflessly without reservation. Again, How Sway!
Our spouses are a mirror that reveal the slightest cracks in our leadership and personality and I can understand why some people call it quits. It can be much easier to stop looking in the mirror than to change what you see. We made a commitment to a life of sacrifice, personal healing, and unconditional love against all human logic. It’s not all doom and gloom, but honoring God’s covenant is serious business that too many of us take too lightly. On December 8, 2012, I made a commitment before God and my family to love my wife to death do us part and by God’s grace that’s’ what I’ll do. This is what all men should do regardless of how we feel and the direction society attempts to sway us. We have a responsibility to honor the legacy of family and build the character of nations through the commitment of marriage. These are my confessions, but not my covenant. What will be yours?